Wiring acupuncture needles up to electricity sounds a little intimidating right? However done correctly, there is nothing to be concerned about, and lots to be positive about.
Electroacupuncture was first used by Jean-Baptiste Sarlandière, a French anatomist and physiologist, in 1825, where he used it to treat respiratory and rheumatic conditions. Its use in China is attributed to Tang Shicheng, who wrote a treatise on the subject in 1934.
What is it used for?
Electroacupuncture is especially useful for disorders characterized by pain, flaccidity or paralysis due to such conditions as stroke or arthritis. These conditions can require regular, strong stimulus.
How is it done?
An electroacupuncture machine uses an oscillator to generate a pulsating current, which is connected, via small alligator clips, to acupuncture needles that have already been placed in the skin as per normal. The frequency and amplitude of the current is controlled by settings on the machine. The level of output is slowly turned up until the patient feels a small amount of stimulation. It can then carefully increased until it is at a level that feels right.
Does it hurt?
There can be a variety of sensations with electroacupuncture. It commonly has a ‘pulsing’ or ‘tapping’ sensation. It can be quite intense but the practitioner (or patient) can always adjust the stimulation dial to a level that is comfortable.
Advantages of electroacupuncture
Electroacupuncture provides the ability to control the frequency and intensity of sensation for a consistent period of time with reduced risk of tissue damage, compared to manual stimulation.
The machine can also maintain strong stimulus over a relatively long period of time, which would possibly tire a practitioner.
If you have not had successful results with acupuncture alone, this can be a great adjunct to treatment. Ask your practitioner if it’s right for you.